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Shark documentary-maker mauled in Qld

A shark documentary-maker has been mauled by a shark while swimming at a resort island during a day off in far north Queensland.

The 29-year-old woman was bitten on the left leg about midday on Tuesday at Fitzroy Island, near Cairns, Queensland Ambulance Services says.

“I still love sharks. Sharks are beautiful,” the woman told reporters as she was wheeled into Cairns Hospital, where she remains in a stable condition.

Doctors, who were guests at the Fitzroy Island Resort, applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding before a rescue helicopter and paramedics arrived.

“She ended up with a possible fracture of the left ankle and some lacerations,” paramedic Terry Cumming said.

“She was in a little bit of pain but we managed to get that under control.”

Mr Cumming said the woman had been swimming about 100 metres from a jetty while taking a break from documenting sharks when attacked.

A social media post showed her later being winched onto a hovering rescue helicopter before she was airlifted to the mainland, 29 kilometres away.

“She is great. She is in there smiling and very happy,” Mr Cumming said after the woman had been admitted to hospital.

Fitzroy Island Resort chief executive Glen Macdonald said the woman was on a fishing boat in Welcome Bay before the attack and emerged from the water saying she had been bitten.

“She was laughing with staff (as they treated her) and when questioned said she did not know what had caused the injury,” he said.

“We bandaged her up and supported her … It did not seem to be too major.”

He said there had never been a shark attack at the island before.

Marine Biologist Gareth Phillips said it was possible the woman’s bite could have been made by a giant trevally or red sea bass fish, who were known to inhabit waters around the island.

“If it was a shark it would have been a very small one,” he said after talking to witnesses to the incident.

It is the third shark attack in recent weeks off Australia’s east coast.

On Saturday a teenager died while surfing at Wilsons Headland at Wooli Beach, off northern NSW, in Australia’s fifth fatal shark attack this year.

The previous weekend, a 36-year-old Sunshine Coast man died after being mauled while spearfishing off Queensland’s Fraser Island.

Last month, Gold Coast surfer Rob Pedretti, 60, died after he was attacked at Salt Beach at South Kingscliff in northern NSW.

A shark also killed 23-year-old Queensland wildlife ranger Zachary Robba in April off North West Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef.

Experienced diver Gary Johnson, 57, was killed by a shark near Cull Island in Esperance on Western Australia’s south coast in January.

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